ExposAssingment2.3 - Slippery Slope September 11th ushered...

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Slippery Slope September 11 th ushered in a new era of politics, and expansion of powers of the executive branch. Politicians, anticipating that their constituents would want immediate action on the issue of counterterrorism passed the Uniting And Strengthening America Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT ACT). This act sought to address the multitude of security issues within the United States. It included provisions to extend the power of the executive branch through new powers and a dampening of judicial review upon the activities of said branch. It also created new categories in which to place people which are non-existent in other legislation. Thus the PATRIOT ACT creates conflict between important national and international documents. The PATRIOT ACT in its conflicts with fundamental legal documents ends up not only violating the rights of non-citizens but U.S. citizens as well. Where the legal documents such as the Bill of Rights and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) encompass all persons, or does not make any differentiation applying the rules to all persons the PATRIOT ACT seeks to circumvent the documents by creating special categories of people not explicitly mentioned within them. The Bill of Rights was passed in 1791 to protect the rights of American citizens. The founding fathers, after breaking away from King George, recognized the danger of an unchecked executive branch. They wrote the Bill of Rights to protect the rights of freedom of speech and property, as well as to ensure that all accused had a fair trial. The Bill of Rights, although conceived to respect the rights of American citizens makes no formal distinction between citizens and non-citizens. Instead, the document refers to such titles as “the people” and thus it can be inferred that the rights the bill refers to belong to all persons because the Bill of Rights is
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based upon the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence explains that the “Governments are instituted among men deriving their just power from the consent of those governed” 1 because of that the Bill of Rights applies to all citizens and non-citizens present on American soil and territory since by being in one of said locations they are subjected to the governances of the U.S. The Declaration of Independence declares that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that amongst these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness” 2 . Therefore, where the Bill of Rights fails to make a distinction on who deserves rights, the Declaration of Independence establishes that it refers to everyone. Contrarily, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War makes
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course ENGLISH 060.113 taught by Professor Heidbrink during the Fall '06 term at Johns Hopkins.

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ExposAssingment2.3 - Slippery Slope September 11th ushered...

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